How does the 2 REP (FFL) compare to the British Paras?

Jean d'Épée

Old-Salt
Medaille de la Defense Nationale (Bronze).
The chocolate one brought in by the Socialist President, Mitterand in 1982, so that conscripts could get a medal by the time their year's service was done. It is a points based system for which various duties count.
In 2 REP at the time it was instantly called the "Medaille de Chocolat" or "MDC". As the Brits were piling in (to the regiment) from then on and many French acronyms are English ones the other way around it became the "CDM" for the Brits or the "Cadbury's Dairy Milk".
We call it “Médaille balai et serpillière” because you earn it for 2 years cleaning in the legion
 

Jean d'Épée

Old-Salt
So they no long get the phone book and pick them a new name when they join?
Hardly anyone picks their own name. I figured out mine because a CCH walked into the cage we were in in Aubagne and left a piece of paper which everyone started touching and looking at. I had no idea what was going on and when I finally got a look I saw the only Anglophone name on the list (it didn’t give your real name with it) and thought “wow what a sh!t name, I guess that’s mine”
 
Breakfast in theory is possible but it will never happen. You need permission from someone higher and no one is going to give it. If you’re a young legionnaire and your corporals/sergeants find out you’ve been visiting the ordinaire...good luck. Breakfast in the club was more possible but you had to pay for this, but for a young legionnaire it’s not going to happen much, mornings are for corvée and cleaning. I don’t know what the mess money sum is but I’m sure for breakfast it’s basically nothing because no one eats in the morning except the tauleurs.

Lunch is compulsory but again you have corvée chambre/section/company after so for a young legionnaire it usually means eating half your portion and then running off to work. Dinner as I said is non-existent for many companies and not encouraged in the companies that do allow it.
That is just ridiculous! And I would hazard a guess contrary to French Army Regulations (paging @fantassin ).

The post of mine that you quoted included all Company Junior Ranks (less Caporaux-Chefs) who for Lunch and Dinner would be marched singing to the "Ordinaire/Refectoire" by the Caporal de Semaine (Company Weekly Duty Corporal). And everyone would make their way back in their own time (which admittedly could be limited for the most junior who had some corvees to fulfil during the lunch break).

Each Company had a designated time slot in order to avoid a pile up in the meal queue, though sometimes they might coincide then you had the funny Monty-Pythonesque sight of the march tempo being increased so that one might beat the other to the door of the cookhouse!

The food was generally of good quality, cooks were encouraged to plan and produce meals based on their country of origin's cuisines and there was easily sufficient quantity and there were always two choices: Take it or leave it. Usually if you didn't like it you took it as there was always someone out of your mates who would want to eat what you didn't and it it would be reciprocated in due course.

The food allocation was completely subsidised for Junior Ranks, in that we did not see any deduction from our pay for it. I understood that this was still the case.

It looks like there may be some shenanigans going on here!

Edited to add: I particularly recall that meals at weekends in the Ordinaire/Refectoire tended to be good, that's when the wine drinkers tended to make sure that the non-wine drinkers took their allocated share as well - it was a 75cl bottle between four as I recall.
 
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Hardly anyone picks their own name. I figured out mine because a CCH walked into the cage we were in in Aubagne and left a piece of paper which everyone started touching and looking at. I had no idea what was going on and when I finally got a look I saw the only Anglophone name on the list (it didn’t give your real name with it) and thought “wow what a sh!t name, I guess that’s mine”
I kept my own name, which could have been a given Legion name as it confused most people! :)
 
That is just ridiculous! And I would hazard a guess contrary to French Army Regulations (paging @fantassin ).

The post of mine that you quoted included all Company Junior Ranks (less Caporaux-Chefs) who for Lunch and Dinner would be marched singing to the "Ordinaire/Refectoire" by the Caporal de Semaine (Company Weekly Duty Corporal). And everyone would make their way back in their own time (which admittedly could be limited for the most junior who had some corvees to fulfil during the lunch break).

Each Company had a designated time slot in order to avoid a pile up in the meal queue, though sometimes they might coincide then you had the funny Monty-Pythonesque sight of he march tempo being increased so that one might beat the other to the door of the cookhouse!

The food was generally of good quality, cooks were encouraged to plan and produce meals based on their country of origin's cuisines and there was easily sufficient quantity and there were always two choices: Take it or leave it. Usually if you didn't like it you took it as there was always someone out of your mates who would want to eat what you didn't and it it would be reciprocated in due course.

The food allocation was completely subsidised for Junior Ranks, in that we did not see any deduction from our pay for it. I understood that this was still the case.

It looks like there may be some shenanigans going on here!

Edited to add: I particularly recall that meals at weekends in the Ordinaire/Refectoire tended to be good, that's when the wine drinkers tended to make sure that the non-wine drinkers took their allocated share as well - it was a 75cl bottle between four as I recall.
Food was something we thought about a lot when I was a recruit, mainly because we didn't get much of it. Certainly not in the first few weeks, anyway. This was the mid eighties, things are different today. Recruits must be allowed to eat, and must have at least thirty minutes to do it.
I knew a man from my battalion who went diffy and joined the Legion. He came back after a couple of months or so, he said one of the reasons he came home was the Legion food was utter crap. This would be 1990.
 

Oyibo

LE
Food was something we thought about a lot when I was a recruit, mainly because we didn't get much of it. Certainly not in the first few weeks, anyway. This was the mid eighties, things are different today. Recruits must be allowed to eat, and must have at least thirty minutes to do it.
I knew a man from my battalion who went diffy and joined the Legion. He came back after a couple of months or so, he said one of the reasons he came home was the Legion food was utter crap. This would be 1990.

Couldn't agree more about food as a recruit. As I remember it all meals were obligatory, but even so when our ID photos were taken at week 8 I looked like a concentration camp victim with hollow cheeks and temples (especially so as I was wearing a blue stripey shirt). At some time in the early '90s PARA recruits were entitled to 4 meals a day because it was recognised that the normal 3 Army meals a day were not enough to sustain them.

I did a few trips with the French Army (including one to Calvi) and I thought the quality of food was very good. But the quantity was woefully small. In the UK we're happy with a clump of soggy chips covered with range stew and some Sunblest 'bread', as long as there's enough of it.. The French Army IMO prefers a more civilised approach to eating. French ration packs exemplify this with rather nicely presented supermarket products. British rat packs are bundles of stodge and energy (and shiny toilet paper).
 
That is just ridiculous! And I would hazard a guess contrary to French Army Regulations (paging @fantassin ).

The post of mine that you quoted included all Company Junior Ranks (less Caporaux-Chefs) who for Lunch and Dinner would be marched singing to the "Ordinaire/Refectoire" by the Caporal de Semaine (Company Weekly Duty Corporal). And everyone would make their way back in their own time (which admittedly could be limited for the most junior who had some corvees to fulfil during the lunch break).

Each Company had a designated time slot in order to avoid a pile up in the meal queue, though sometimes they might coincide then you had the funny Monty-Pythonesque sight of he march tempo being increased so that one might beat the other to the door of the cookhouse!

The food was generally of good quality, cooks were encouraged to plan and produce meals based on their country of origin's cuisines and there was easily sufficient quantity and there were always two choices: Take it or leave it. Usually if you didn't like it you took it as there was always someone out of your mates who would want to eat what you didn't and it it would be reciprocated in due course.

The food allocation was completely subsidised for Junior Ranks, in that we did not see any deduction from our pay for it. I understood that this was still the case.

It looks like there may be some shenanigans going on here!

Edited to add: I particularly recall that meals at weekends in the Ordinaire/Refectoire tended to be good, that's when the wine drinkers tended to make sure that the non-wine drinkers took their allocated share as well - it was a 75cl bottle between four as I recall.

PM sent
 
Food was something we thought about a lot when I was a recruit, mainly because we didn't get much of it. Certainly not in the first few weeks, anyway. This was the mid eighties, things are different today. Recruits must be allowed to eat, and must have at least thirty minutes to do it.
I knew a man from my battalion who went diffy and joined the Legion. He came back after a couple of months or so, he said one of the reasons he came home was the Legion food was utter crap. This would be 1990.
Legion food was good in my opinion , quantity was a problem , never enough, the menu could be very repetitive though.
 
Legion food was good in my opinion , quantity was a problem , never enough, the menu could be very repetitive though.
Interesting.

I’ve always been a big chap (1m85 and 85kg in my prime) and personally I found that although the food both in quantity and quality at Castel was not great, it was adequate. At 2 REP, I remember it being much better on both counts and sometimes excellent.

When I later did my Corporal’s Cadre at Castel, the food was OK and it was quite good when I did my “Stage Trans” (Radio Telegraphist) course at 2 REI in Nimes (before the specialist training company moved to Castelnaudary as well).

Having done corvées at both the 2 REP Sergeants’ and Officers’ Messes, I could vouch that the actual meals (not considering the plates, utensils, Mess Service etc.) were not much different there than in the Ordinaire. And of course they had to pay for them, which Legionnaires didn’t.

As regards the menu, yes I agree, but I do remember “stand-out” occasions when particular cooks had got permission and encouragement to present their own country’s native dishes.

I do recall the main gripe amongst the Anglophone community being the lack of a “proper” breakfast fry-up.
 
Which seems to be 'SS marschiert in Feindesland' traditional?
It is the same tune, very different lyrics. Ditto “Les Képis Blancs” and “Panzerlied” and a few others.

You can’t beat a good melody.
 
Interesting.

I’ve always been a big chap (1m85 and 85kg in my prime) and personally I found that although the food both in quantity and quality at Castel was not great, it was adequate. At 2 REP, I remember it being much better on both counts and sometimes excellent.

When I later did my Corporal’s Cadre at Castel, the food was OK and it was quite good when I did my “Stage Trans” (Radio Telegraphist) course at 2 REI in Nimes (before the specialist training company moved to Castelnaudary as well).

Having done corvées at both the 2 REP Sergeants’ and Officers’ Messes, I could vouch that the actual meals (not considering the plates, utensils, Mess Service etc.) were not much different there than in the Ordinaire. And of course they had to pay for them, which Legionnaires didn’t.

As regards the menu, yes I agree, but I do remember “stand-out” occasions when particular cooks had got permission and encouragement to present their own country’s native dishes.

I do recall the main gripe amongst the Anglophone community being the lack of a “proper” breakfast fry-up.
I remember doing corvee in the officers canteen and robbing some very good food and wine ,working hard for the chef (cook) could result in a steak and egg dinner , the best food I ever had was in Mayotte , once there was fresh swordfish.
 
Food was something we thought about a lot when I was a recruit, mainly because we didn't get much of it. Certainly not in the first few weeks, anyway. This was the mid eighties, things are different today. Recruits must be allowed to eat, and must have at least thirty minutes to do it.
I knew a man from my battalion who went diffy and joined the Legion. He came back after a couple of months or so, he said one of the reasons he came home was the Legion food was utter crap. This would be 1990.
A lot of the Brits, used to fatty fry-ups and sweet stodgy puddings had a very difficult time adjusting to basic French food, especially the breakfasts.
 
Couldn't agree more about food as a recruit. As I remember it all meals were obligatory, but even so when our ID photos were taken at week 8 I looked like a concentration camp victim with hollow cheeks and temples (especially so as I was wearing a blue stripey shirt). At some time in the early '90s PARA recruits were entitled to 4 meals a day because it was recognised that the normal 3 Army meals a day were not enough to sustain them.

I did a few trips with the French Army (including one to Calvi) and I thought the quality of food was very good. But the quantity was woefully small. In the UK we're happy with a clump of soggy chips covered with range stew and some Sunblest 'bread', as long as there's enough of it.. The French Army IMO prefers a more civilised approach to eating. French ration packs exemplify this with rather nicely presented supermarket products. British rat packs are bundles of stodge and energy (and shiny toilet paper).
I recall a British Army sub-unit stopping over briefly at Camp Raffalli in the mid-eighties. I don’t remember what cap badge, but they had just completed the GR20 long distance footpath through the Corsican Mountains on an adventure training jaunt. They stuffed themselves at the cookhouse and were particularly astonished by and enamoured of the two self-service drinks machines in the centre of the dining hall, where the other ranks could just help themselves.

What particularly tickled their fancy was that as well as having still and sparkling water, lemonade, orangeade and a cola (I think), there was also a lager beer tap at each machine. They proceeded to drink as much as they could and to fill up their water bottles, much to the bemusement of the Legionnaires.
 
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Couldn't agree more about food as a recruit. As I remember it all meals were obligatory, but even so when our ID photos were taken at week 8 I looked like a concentration camp victim with hollow cheeks and temples (especially so as I was wearing a blue stripey shirt). At some time in the early '90s PARA recruits were entitled to 4 meals a day because it was recognised that the normal 3 Army meals a day were not enough to sustain them.

I did a few trips with the French Army (including one to Calvi) and I thought the quality of food was very good. But the quantity was woefully small. In the UK we're happy with a clump of soggy chips covered with range stew and some Sunblest 'bread', as long as there's enough of it.. The French Army IMO prefers a more civilised approach to eating. French ration packs exemplify this with rather nicely presented supermarket products. British rat packs are bundles of stodge and energy (and shiny toilet paper).

At the time (early to mid-eighties) French Army field ration packs were extremely basic (and pretty awful actually). The are much better now. We used to always supplement our rations on exercise. On Operations, the rations were always enhanced by locally sourced food at all levels. Whenever possible feeding was centralised. Local producers and traders benefited tremendously from this. On long range patrols on Op Manta in Chad, we supplemented our rations hunting gazelle and desert bustard “pintade” in French.
 
As regards food and drink in general, my five years in the French Foreign Legion was a bit of an eye-opener. I discovered the joys of good French food and wine while in the Legion (the basics in the Legion itself, the rest frequenting some great restaurants as and when I could with my significant disposable income.

I grew up in inner London in the sixties and seventies. Even considering that London was a bit more cosmopolitan than most of the rest of the UK, food across the board tended not to be very inspiring. I had a broader palate than most because I was brought up in a Polish immigrant family and went to Catholic schools where most of the other kids were Irish, Italian or Polish (in that order). I also lived in a part of London where there was a substantial Cypriot community (mostly Greek Cypriot at the time). As a family we did not eat out very often (perhaps a couple of times a year). The choice of food available in the restaurants and shops tended to be far more limited then.
 
Interesting comments on French military food but what's specifically on the menu ? Is it similar to the stuff in ration packs ?

 

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